Consumer Alert: Watch out for thieves lurking around mailboxes - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

Consumer Alert: Watch out for thieves lurking around mailboxes

Police arrested Frances and Aret Frangulyan on severall charges. Police arrested Frances and Aret Frangulyan on severall charges.
A couple in cahoots were caught stealing mail from several people in order to steal their identities.  Postal inspectors share important tips to avoid becoming a victim of similar crimes.

Police arrested Frances and Aret Frangulyan after getting a 911 call about a suspicious car.
"These two people were in their neighborhood going through mailboxes and taking mail," says Carla Mendez, a U.S. Postal Inspector.
When police pulled the car over, they found more than 750 pieces of mail, and that led to a search warrant of the Frangulyan's home.
"We found various identifying information, other people's credit card statements, and a lot of stuff that didn't belong to them," says Mendez.
Postal inspectors also discovered the latest technology identity thieves use to commit their crime.
"They can make credit cards, they can make drivers licenses, and they can forge checks," says Mendez.  "There is check making software they can use to make checks that look pretty good.  They look real to the banking system."
How can you protect yourself from identity theft?  Postal inspectors say there are several ways.
"You keep track of all of your identifying information," says Mendez.  "If you are mailing a bill with a check in it make sure to take it to a post office or a blue collection box."
Postal inspectors also say to be aware of the mail delivery schedule in your neighborhood.
"Know when the mail person comes to your house and delivers the mail and try not to let it sit overnight or if you are on vacation forget to put a hold," says Mendez.

The suspects in this case were convicted.  Frances Frangulyan received probation and her husband, Aret, is serving two years in prison on stolen property charges, larceny, and ID theft.

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